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Five-0 Redux

Happy Father’s Day, Danno

  • CBS


In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, June 19, I have been thinking about the one character on “Hawaii Five-0” who has always been identified as the “Dad” on the team: Danny Williams, played by actor Scott Caan. Danny started off on the Five-0 Task Force as the only team member with a child. In fact, this nickname, Danno, was what his daughter Grace (Teilor Grubbs) called him since age three when she could not say his name, and all that came out was “Danno.”

Since that first season, Danno has gained a son, Charlie (Zach Sulzbach), as well as a nephew, Eric (Andrew Lawrence). And while Eric is an adult, Danno still needs to guide and nurture him as much as he does Charlie and Grace.  

Looking at Danno, and all the sacrifices he makes for his family– he was the bone marrow donor to save his son Charlie; he has had to save and protect Gracie many times from danger; he tries to keep Eric focused on his new job as an HPD crime lab technician– we continue to see what makes him a good dad and father figure.

The theme of fatherhood has been an important character thread on “Hawaii Five-0,” and has fueled much of the action and characterization of several of the main characters since its very start. Interestingly enough, Caan was one of the few actors on Five-0 who was a father on the show before becoming a father in real life. This changed when his daughter, Josie James Caan, was born on July 9, 2014.

The other main actors on the show, Alex O’Loughlin, Daniel Dae Kim, and Chi McBride all have children in real life, but McBride’s character is the only one who has children on the show– Samantha (Paige Hurd) and Will (Chosen Jacobs). Yet, Steve (O’Loughlin) is a father figure to Danno’s children, as well as to Nahele (Kekoa Kekumano). And Chin (Kim) now has Sara Malia (Londyn Silzer), Gabriel’s (Christopher Sean) daughter, to take care of.

If you ask fans what they think of Danno, most will talk about the fact that Danno is a great father. In the fan favorite survey many said something very similar to what fan Kana Ogawa, from Japan, wrote: “Danno is cute, funny, clever, loyal, and a great daddy.” Many commented about Danno’s humor, loyalty to Steve, as well as to the rest of the Five-0 team.

“He puts the ones he loves above all else without a moment’s hesitation,” wrote Josette Key, which echoed what many fans wrote about why they love Danno. They love the fact that he is willing to do anything for his friends. He almost died trying to protect his New Jersey partner Grace Tillwell (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) who was killed on September 11, 2001 days before his daughter was born. Danno named his daughter after his slain partner, and once told Steve the awful story about what happened to Tillwell and how Gracie got her name.

Jenniffer Wardell, from Utah, wrote about how Danno is: “incredibly emotionally complex, not the traditional personality type for cop shows. He’s a wonderful father and there are hints of a really complex emotional history, and the kind of fierce loyalty I adore.”

Wardell summarized Danno near perfectly– he is flawed, yet human. He is a good father, but he will use violence to protect his family. He is extremely loyal, but sometimes that can be a detriment to himself. Think of how many times Danno has been in danger because he will not abandon Steve. He’s been in a helicopter with a nuclear bomb; he’s been nearly blown up and trapped in building; he’s been poisoned; he’s gone to prison; he’s given up part of his liver.

Of course, we know that Steve would have done the same for Danno, as that is the reality of their friendship– nothing will end that loyalty and deep kinship they have for each other. Yet some may call these negative traits drawbacks to Danno’s “good father” certification. But that is really what makes Danno such a great character– he is not perfect. He is protective, he is real, and he is firm in his beliefs– but he is far from guiltless.

This is really what makes him such a full and round character, and likewise, a father we can all relate to and appreciate. Regardless of our individual beliefs– if someone was threatening your children– you’d use whatever means necessary to save and protect them. Danno just happens to be able to do that with a gun, as well as a Navy SEAL, two expert marksmen, and a SWAT Captain. Really, Danno has proven time and time again that his “Daddy Danno” character is more than just sweet and loving– he will kill before anyone can hurt his children or he will die trying.

I don’t think any of us doubt that about Danno. He does have a moral compass, but sometimes that compass becomes very flexible when children are involved. I don’t think he would change for someone else’s child– we’ve seen him step out of his cop role in order to save a child’s life who was not his own.

We’ve also seen him kill in revenge for a family member, like when he killed Marco Reyes his brother’s murderer. He almost killed again in the season finale when he faced the drug smuggler who shot McGarrett, but he stops himself because he knows that Steve will have a chance to live if Danno keeps himself out of prison. Or perhaps that moral compass is a bit different now that he has a son, as well as Grace to take care of, and because Steve was injured and not physically by his side. He needed to stay solid in order to help McGarrett– and that may have been why he did not shoot the man who almost killed his friend.

It is all of these elements that make him the kind of father that we can get behind and cheer for.

And if there is anything that Danno knows for sure, is that he is needed– by his children, his family, and most definitely by Steve and the rest of the Five-0 team.

Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter  and Instagram.

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  • We need more TV characters on TV series’s that are portrayed as a great parent. TV seems for the most part to Skip good parenting. Book’em Danno !

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